PALAPYE: Botswana Congress Party’s (BCP) Oneetse Ramogapi, who won the Palapye parliamentary seat at the recent primary election, said he is not bothered by the party’s decision to withhold the seat.
He said that this is so until a resolution is made after his opponent, Ethel Gampone lodged an appeal.
Ramogapi beat Gampone by 843 votes to his 411 in the BCP primaries held last month.
His lobby group beat Gampone’s by a mudslide, winning six out of seven wards that were contested for.
Some of the candidates that stood for the council seat alongside Gampone lodged appeals sighting underhanded tactics by Ramogapi and his lobby group.
BCP secretary general, Phillip Manowe, through his report at the party national conference held in Bobonong over the President’s Day holidays confirmed and regularised 12 out of the 13 parliamentary candidates who stood in past primary elections and Palapye was not confirmed.
Manowe confirmed through the report that an elections appeal has been received from Palapye parliamentary contest and from 18 local government contests across 15 constituencies that held primary elections in June.
“An elections tribunal has been appointed and will consider all appeals soon after this conference,” the secretary general’s report read in part.
Some party insiders in Palapye that preferred anonymity said this is a ploy by some members of the party in top positions to give Gampone a chance over Ramogapi, as the former would be the only woman parliamentary candidate for the party at the next general elections.
Ramogapi said that does not bother him and he is confident that he will represent BCP at the 2019 general elections as he “has done nothing wrong”.
He said it is common course that sometimes people will feel wronged when results do not favour them and it is only right that those who feel aggrieved are given an ear.
“I have no problem with my comrades protesting. It’s within their rights and it’s only right for the party to listen to their protests and I would
“Otherwise, the party did not stop us from continuing with everyday business on the ground. We are busy with the house-to-house campaigns and I remain confident in my position.”
Gampone, who had tendered the appeal, was not available to answer. Her comrades, Area Gabathusi and Dineo Tumotumo, were happy with the party’s position on the matter.
Gabathusi lost Boikago/Madiba ward to Martha Lebang by a margin of five votes after Lebang’s 155 votes and Gabathusi’s 150.
Tumotumo lost Mmaphula West to Onkabetse Maghibisela by 96 votes against his 45. The duo threatened to jump ship after the elections if the party would not have heard their grievances.
Amongst other issues, Tumotumo and company had complained that they were denied the voters’ roll until the last minute of the elections and some of the names, including his own, did not appear in the roll.
He had said he raised the complaint with the party leadership even before the primary elections were held.
“I am happy that the party has resolved not to confirm the Palapye results. There has been a lot of irregularities in the past primary elections and I am hopeful the appeals tribunal will elucidate this problem that has threatened to break us apart,” Tumotumo said.
Palapye constituency chairperson, Maina Kgopo said the constituency has long pushed for the matter to be heard, but concentration went toward the preparations of the party conference.
He confirmed that a tribunal will descend on Palapye to resolve the problem and that if the need arises that a re-run is held, it would be held in the next cycle of the party’s primary elections.
The next BCP primaries will be held on August 18, 2018.